Negotiation Case Exercises

The NTF develops interactive negotiation exercises and training simulations ranging from cases for the undergraduate classroom to complex, immersive crisis management scenarios geared towards senior decision-makers in government, military, and the private sector.

Our case exercises engage participants through immersive learning, educate them on critical conflicts in the Eurasian and Euro-Atlantic sphere, and allow them to acquire and practice advanced negotiation and conflict management techniques.

Case exercises developed by the NTF have been used across Harvard University, including in the “Post-Soviet Conflict” seminar in the Department of Government, the Advanced Workshop in Multiparty Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at Harvard Kennedy School, and the Executive Education course Senior Executives in National and International Security

Find a selection of our cases below. Several new scenarios are currently under development.

If you would like to use these teaching materials or work with our experts to bring one of our exercises to your organization, please contact the Negotiation Task Force team at DavisCenterNTF@fas.harvard.edu.

Nagorno-Karabakh: A Convening of Community Leaders

This nine-party negotiation exercise focuses on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, a long-standing territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Over the years, formal negotiations between the governments of each country and mediators from the Minsk Group (represented by Russia, the United States and France) have been unsuccessful. This (fictional) negotiation brings together civil society members in the hopes of reaching an agreement that could put formal negotiations back on a productive track. The conflict simulation introduces participants to the difficulties of negotiating around sacred issues, as well as the challenges of reaching an agreement when there are conflicting narratives to the same problem. From a negotiation analysis perspective, participants learn to ask probing questions in order to find shared interests with other negotiators and gain momentum towards reaching an agreement.

The Conflict in Eastern Ukraine

This seven-party, multi-issue negotiation challenges participants to solve a multidimensional conflict based on real-world circumstances, parties, and interests. This exercise’s main objective is to help negotiators better understand team and coalition building-dynamics during multi-issue negotiations. Within one coalition, the parties have to negotiate interests among three diverse camps: the European Union, the United States of America, and the Ukraine. Within the other, two roles (the Heads of the “DPR” and “LPR”) have a status that is somewhat inferior to that of another (Russia). Outside of these internal team dynamics, one party (the OSCE) acts as an undeclared/informal process leader and/or mediator. The six issues on the table are divided into two buckets, with short-term issues prioritized initially.

The Future of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

This ten-party, multi-issue negotiation deals with the future of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which currently hangs in the balance. Signed in 1987 between the United States and the USSR, the INF Treaty forms a key part of the global non-proliferation architecture, but, after multiple years of both sides accusing the other of violating the Treaty and global shifts of power towards a multipolar world, there is a risk that one or both parties withdraw. This negotiation brings together a delegation from the Russian Federation (four negotiators), a delegation from the United States (four negotiators), and representatives from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).